Black: Pandemic is much bigger than basketball


    DISCRETION is the better part of valor for Meralco coach Norman Black as far as the lethal coronavirus disease is concerned.

    Like most in the PBA, Black wants to get back to the playing court with the Bolts but they and everybody else must watch their steps amidst the pandemic that has claimed lives not just in the country but all over the world.

    “We all want to get back to practice, we all want to get back to playing games again,” said Black, mostly cooped up in his house since the PBA was forced to shut down operations in mid-March.

    “But the pandemic is much bigger than, of course, basketball. It’s affecting all the citizens of the Philippines, not just the basketball players,” added Black.

    “I think that we just have to be a little bit patient, we have to be smart, we have to follow the government’s lead and follow our leaders as far as when we can go back to work.”
    Black’s words, however, couldn’t really hide his disappointment

    The PBA’s long-awaited return to the practice gym got another unwelcome delay when Metro Manila, where most of the sports facilities are located, and some nearby areas were placed under a two-week modified enhanced community quarantines last Aug. 4.

    “I don’t think anybody likes the delay. I think everybody wants to get back to work,” Black said.

    “But what we can we do? This is a pandemic,” added Black. “I’m sure everybody wants to stay healthy, nobody wants to get sick. So you do what you have to do: stay healthy.”

    Staying home has not prevented the 62-year-old, 11-time PBA champion coach from observing with some trepidation what some other people do.

    “It’s still amazes me, when I look at people, who… they look at science and they snub their nose at it,” noted Black. “It’s as if they think they’re superhumans, can’t be affected by this virus and they go around with no masks on and they go to bars and they party.

    “It’s their prerogative, but it doesn’t make them right as far as I’m concerned. There’s too many people getting sick and dying because of this virus.”

    That’s why he regularly keeps tabs on and staying connected with his players.

    “We’ve been Zoom-ing since the start of the pandemic, the entire team. We’ve had quite a lot of those. Also staying in contact by our Viber group,” related Black.

    “We’ve been on top of our players as far as trying to monitor their conditions. As of this moment, they’re okay.”

    “I know that in the beginning of July our conditions were very, very good. Obviously, as days go by we hope that they stay disciplined and not be lazy… that they’d continue to stay in shape.”

    If and when allowed by the government, the PBA plans to resume its season by mid-October and Black says every day of practice time would be needed, not just by the Bolts but by all the players to get back in full form and meet that target date.

    “I think we would need at least four to five weeks before we can expect the players to get back on court and playing again,” said Black.